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ITB Berlin News 2020 - #4

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I SPECIAL FEATURE I NATURE TOURISM IADVERTORIALClose encountersof the natural kindDurban is the gateway to new and exceptionalwilderness experiences© Thanda SafariMiravallesVolcano NationalPark-JorgeManuel Dengo,Costa RicaCOSTA RICAWELCOMESITS 29 THNATIONALPARKAfter encountering the big five, visitors are treated to convivial refreshmentsCosta Rica has declaredthe Miravalles VolcanoNational Park-JorgeManuel Dengo thecountry’s 29 th nationalpark.Following a strategic agreement in 2018 between theAccor and Mantis groups, an exclusive new game reservehas been opened just north of Durban, South Africa,in a total wilderness area belonging to the local Zulucommunity.Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is the oldestnature reserve area in Africa,and is one in which, thanks to itsbeautifully maintained privateconcessions, “close encounters”with the extraordinary wildlife arerelatively easy. As a new addition,the new uMfolozi Big Five Reserve(rhinos, elephants, lions, leopardsand buffalo), run by Mantis, addsto the already exceptional offeringof resorts within easy reach ofDurban, further increasing theattractiveness of the region forinternational tourists.Zulu chiefs enabled the openingof this new parcel of land to a veryselect number of visitors, grantingMantis a 6,000-hectare landconcession on pristine wildernessfor the creation of the new reserve.The new concession has thus beenadded to the broader (around100,000 hectares) state-ownedHluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.Two 5-star lodges have beenconstructed – the Biyela Lodge andMthembu Lodge – offering distinctexperiences overlooking the WhiteiMfolozi River.Biyela Lodge property managerMelissa Marx explains that a keyselling point is that this is a veritablewilderness area: “It was the originalhunting ground of King Shaka, butno tourists have ever set foot herebefore.”Zulu culture is omnipresent. “Forour guests, the discovery andunderstanding of Zulu rites andtraditions makes this place muchmore than just another gamereserve. It’s very special,” addsMarx.LUXURY IN THE WILD:WITH CONSERVATIONAS A MISSIONAlready well established meanwhileas an ultra-luxury eco-resort, alsoin KwaZulu Natal, Thanda Safarioffers guests an authenticallySouth African wildlife experiencematched with commitment tothe Zulu culture and passionateconservation of the environment.Meaning “love” in isiZulu, Thandais a member of The LeadingHotels of the World and multiplewinner of World’s Leading LuxuryLodge. Its mission is to serve asa “responsible custodian of theenvironment, combining respectfor biodiversity in partnership withwildlife conservation agenciesand rural community supportinitiatives”The new addition, located inthe north-western region ofGuanacaste, is one of CostaRica’s hidden gems. It is nearly5,000 hectares and featuressome of Costa Rica’s biggestgeothermal fields. CostaRica’s protected areas nowencompass more than 25% ofits land mass, more than anyother country in the world.Jaguars, big cats, ocelots,cougars and tapirs are someof the species that can befound in the National Park,whose sights are dominated byMiravalles Volcano. Standingat 2,028m, it is the tallestvolcano in the Guanacastemountain range and generatesan abundance of geothermalenergy. This is why the thermalhot springs are one of themost popular attractions is theareaITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 25

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